Rupert Murdoch is poised to mount an attack on the vulnerable BBC with a new radio station designed to threaten Radio 4.

The UK arm of the media mogul's News Corp empire is due this week to announce details of Times Radio, a DAB channel funded from the -marketing budget of The Times titles.

The "opinion-led" programming is expected to draw on writers such as Giles Coren in pursuit of Radio 4's wealthy metropolitan audience.

Sources said Times Radio does not intend to interrupt programmes for advertising.

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The station's main commercial purpose will be to recruit "young, aspirational" subscribers to The Times.

Times Radio is due to launch in the spring, the most direct competitor to Radio 4 that the BBC has faced.

More than a decade ago Channel 4 had plans to enter the radio market, including the niche for thoughtful speech programming, but backed out, fearing it would lose money in the shadow of the BBC.

The BBC is under political pressure over the future of the licence fee as well as from shifting habits for video and audio consumption.

In October it was revealed that Radio 4 had lost 300,000 listeners from a year earlier amid the rise of podcasts and the increasing reach of commercial rivals such as LBC and News UK's talkRadio - a heavy loss-maker which has been at risk of closure in planning for Times Radio.

The moves are part of a broader shake-up of News UK by chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

On Friday she -replaced the editor of The Sunday Times with the deputy editor of its daily stablemate.

The titles are increasingly sharing editorial resources, with preparations underway for more parts of the two newsrooms to share floorspace.

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News UK declined to comment.

The Sunday Telegraph